There have been numerous studies that prove wearing makeup makes a woman’s self-esteem soar. It’s called the “lipstick effect,” and it’s a psychological phenomenon in which wearing makeup can give individuals a confidence boost by making them feel more physically attractive, increasing feelings of self-esteem, attitude and personality.
However, a less well-known effect is that a boost in self-esteem can also boost cognitive abilities. As previous research has already shown that positive emotions can improve academic performance, the new study set out to see if the positive boost in self-esteem from wearing makeup could have the same effect.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of Chieti in Italy looked into the “lipstick effect” among 186 female undergraduate students. The students were placed into different groups and given a series of tests to complete, which consisted of answering multiple choice questions about a chapter from a general psychology textbook.
Before taking the test, members of one group were asked to apply makeup, another group listened to a positive music excerpt, and a third colored a drawing of a human face. The results showed that although there was a significant increase in cognitive performance from the group who listened to positive music, it was those in the makeup group who performed significantly better than females in the other two groups.
The research team pointed out that although makeup wasn’t the only way of boosting test results, the findings do offer new understanding into the ways in which boosting physical self-esteem may improve academic and cognitive performance.